Thursday, April 25, 2013

Breaking Plateaus In Your Workouts

Your body creates an internal set point for your weight. This weight is affected by many factors including: lifestyle, age, gender, genetics, and other triggers such as hormones, energy, appetite, water, and stress. The most effective way to releasing weight (undesirable pounds and inches) is to set a goal of 2-4 pounds per week. When you first start out you may release up to 10 pounds in a week. This is partially due to the benefits of nutritional cleansing and some extra water loss due to a shift in your activity levels which will make you sweat more (and require you to consume more water).

If you do reach a plateau with releasing weight or gaining weight there are several things you can do to break the plateau and take your performance to the next level. Some methods are physical and others mental/emotional. Either way, if you feel like you are hitting a plateau ask yourself if you are sleeping less, under more stress, drinking less water, exercising less, or eating more. If none of those things apply to you then here are some other tips to help you achieve your fitness goals:

  1. Break monotony in your program and change up your workouts. A trainer can help you in this area. Doing the same exercises everyday can stunt your growth (plateau). Take a dance class or cycling class. You can modify any of your training sessions by adjusting the duration (time), frequency, type, or the intensity.
  2. Try doing 2 workouts per day for a while. Doing "2 a days" can help you burn more calories and also prevent overtraining (by splitting up your workouts) which is a major cause of plateaus. The leanest and fittest people are almost always the most active. Try doing cardio in the morning and a weight circuit in the evening.
  3. Increase your water intake to meet your performance needs. Shoot for 1 oz. per pound of desired body weight. After the workout add 1 pint of water per pound lost. This means you will need to weigh in before and after the workout. If you exercise in the heat be prepared to take in more water before, during, and after the workout.
  4. Stick to 400-600 calories per meal. Focus on balance and variety with lots of color (shoot for 5-7 colors). Your meals should contain healthy carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Snacks should be fruits, vegetables, or healthy nuts. It is easy to overeat meals when they are full of sauces/toppings, preservatives and hidden fats. Buy a cookbook or use an online calorie counter (they make smart phone apps) to help you count calories.
  5. Use a thorough body analysis to measure your results. Have a trainer help you with this for accurate measurements. The analysis should include a body fat test and a thorough measurement of inches. Muscle weighs more than fat per volume so you could and will gain muscle and lose fat and may show a net gain of zero at times. A body fat test along with body measurements is a better indicator of progress than weight itself.
  6. Accept your body type. Appreciate what you have so you can move forward in fitness. Resenting your body can create stress hormones which will keep the undesirable weight on.
  7. Take your Isagenix Accelerator and Isagenix Want More Energy pre-workout (30 minutes before). The Accelerator has ingredients that are designed to help the body release fat. Read more. Want More Energy helps you stay energized and hydrated. Read more. You can also add 5 grams of protein (Isagenix IsaPro) to the Want More Energy to help spare muscle protein breakdown when you are doing intense workouts.
  8. Drink an Isagenix Isalean shake within 45 minutes after any workout. This will help fight inflammation, build & repair muscle and connective tissue faster, and improve recovery time between workouts.
  9. Get your sleep. You need 7-9 hours of restful sleep to promote fat loss.
  10. Be honest about your stress levels. If your stress levels are high then take a yoga class, spend time journaling/reflecting, meditate, or just talk to a friend.
  11. Do an Isagenix 9 Day Cleanse. The 9 day cleanse is an intense approach that can help you get back on track and reset your metabolism. Read more on 9 Day. Read more on 30 day.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

RHF Quick Fitness Guide

An all-in-one reference guide to seek balance in your fitness plan...

Get Moving.
3 days of strength training and 3 days of Core & Cardio for 30 minutes should be sufficient to support health, functionality, and build strength. Keeping your body guessing is key to your success. Metabolic training is also something you need to learn about. RHF focuses on metabolic training and muscle confusion. At RHF we perform a ton of total body moves that burn a ton of calories while making you a fitness machine! If you are trying to reduce your weight substantially you can still train at RHF, but you may need to up your frequency to produce the desired results.

Up Your Water Intake.
Over 70% of the population is chronically dehydrated according to some studies. You should consume daily half your body weight in ounces minimum (150lb female should consume 75 ounces). Try flavoring your water with lemon or electrolytes to break the monotony. Try this trick: 8 ounces with meals, 16-20 between meals, and 12-24 ounces during workouts (30-60 minutes).

With Change Comes Challenge.
To get the maximum benefit from your training you need to push it to the limit. RHF often engages in max effort training to help you get faster results. This will truly challenge you to break through plateaus. This also helps you break through mental barriers.

Plan Out Your Plates.
You can avoid rapid drops in blood sugar by spacing your meals 3 hours apart. Seek color, balance, and variety in your meals. Front load your calories to avoid bingeing later in the day and evening. Eat breakfast (first thing in the morning). Late night bingeing is a common problem with people who are struggling to find balance in their nutrition plan. Imbalance can wreck havoc on your metabolism and energy. Ask for help in determining your caloric needs.

Time Your Nutrition to Meet Your Performance and Recovery Needs.
 It is extremely important that you eat 100-200 calories before you workout (1 hour before). It is also important to consume the adequate amount of carbohydrates and protein post-workout (within 45 minutes). Ask for help in determining your performance needs.

Find Compromises in the Kitchen.
Try reversing your portion sizes. Maybe eat more salad and half a sandwich (easy on the dressing) instead of the other way around. At the buffet, you should load up on produce before prancing around at the other stations. There are plenty of compromises you can make that make great sense. If in doubt, ask for help. There are tons of great ideas out there.

Kick the Convenience Foods.
Eating convenience foods derive from impulsive behavior (lack of proper planning) and then evolve into compulsive metabolic disasters. No one is immune to being tempted by convenience foods. Always look for calories, fat, AND total ingredients. Remember the rule of balance, color, and variety. Be mindful and conscious of what you put in your body. You can never go wrong with plant-based foods!

Rest is a Weapon.
Proper rest and relaxation is a weapon. Use it to your advantage. Rejuvenating your body is VITAL to your fitness success. Rest is also a chance to give thanks to your body for all the stress that is put on it both environmentally and self-induced. Restful activities include yoga, meditation, visualization, a power nap, sleep, or anything else that calms you and levels your blood pressure. Sleep is non-negotiable. A good night's sleep is more than just revitalizing yourself for the next day. Sleep reduces frequency of colds, helps slim waistline, and strengthens your heart. Lack of sleep is linked to higher level of stress hormones that affect sugar metabolism and may raise blood pressure. Shoot for 7-9 hours each night of restful sleep.

6 Reasons to Work Out with a Partner. Who's Your Burn Buddy?

Grab a Burn Buddy! Training with a friend is a great idea. Here's why:

Increased motivation.
Cancelling a workout with a friend is hard to do; a lot harder to cancel than those half-ass plans (yah I said that) you made with yourself to hit the "bacardio" equipment informally for 1 hour a day (I hope you skip this idea it is lame). No "5 Hour Energy" needed come 4pm if you have a burn buddy to lean on for an after-work sweat session. Channel all that "work stress" by sweating it out! After 3-4 weeks of meeting your burn buddy it is a habit and a great one!

Your workouts can be more fun.
News flash...The elliptical machine and bicep curling stations are the least exciting ways to get serious results. Face it, it is true. With a burn buddy, you can get your heart racing by doing fun activities like playing one-on-one basketball or tennis. You can also attempt to cheat death by attending RHF Burn30 Bootcamp LOL. If working out on your own, you can take turns leading each other through routines (please go to bootcamp instead). Make it a mutually beneficial process and it will be a big part of your life.

Your workout will be harder (higher intensity).
We all have an inherent drive to compete (whether you admit it or not you do). Who really wants to be last? Environment is often stronger than will power, so what you do together will look a lot different than a routine you do on your own. Think about it. Your abilities should be in the same ballpark, but always be ready to pick your burn buddy up when needed!

You can now afford a fitness pro!
Sharing a pizza LOL is cheaper than buying one yourself (skip this idea too). The same math applies when it comes to hiring a fitness pro. RHF personal training (or any for that matter) is expensive. Sign up for bootcamp for a fraction of the cost. Bootcamp is personal, group training. Read more.

You will always have a helper.
Having trouble trying to figure out where to go and what to do? Struggling with those last couple reps? Surely, between the two of you a plan will be easier to draw up. You can waste a ton of time wandering around the gym. The buddy idea is better than the "lone ranger" philosophy, but I still think you would be best served finding professional help. Seek out a fitness pro!

Your friends will be fitter.
Surround yourself with people who are active and eat well (and sensible) and there is a good chance you are going to do the same. Researchers at Harvard University found that you can "catch" obesity (just like smoking habits and happiness, weird huh?) because it spreads like an infectious "social" disease. The experts found that a person's risk of becoming obese rises by two percent for every five obese (unhealthy) social contacts they have.

There you have it...

Who is your burn buddy? What are you gonna do now?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

7 Key Workout Foods: Get the most out of your workout...

Here's a list of dynamic foods that bring a lot to the table (literally). They fit within a fitness nutrition plan (performance plan) and they are capable of sending your taste buds a nice wake-up call.

Make the lowly tomato your best friend and you could potentially up your chances of staying healthy and recovering faster. They're loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. They are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids. They may boost heart health, fight oxidative stress, protect against a variety of cancers, and combat inflammation. Tomatoes also contain potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance.

A powerhouse of lean protein, fish lets you load up without blowing your calorie budget. The very leanest choices include white-fleshed fish like flounder or tilapia, as well as most shellfish, including lobster. Even dark-fleshed fish like tuna and salmon are considered lean, and the fat they provide (in the form of fish oil) can help regulate hormones and metabolism and reduce inflammation. Of course, all this muscle-building power will never show up as a six-pack unless you are careful about how the fish is prepared. Watch out for calorie bombs like deli tuna salad and deep-fried fish or calamari.

Açai berry
These small, purple berries are actually one of the best superfoods in the world. Açai berries contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any known food, along with fiber, iron, amino acids, and healthy omega fatty acids. Add them to your diet in the form of juice or pulp and you can expect a load of benefits, including increased energy, faster recovery rate, boosted immune system, and stabilized blood sugar levels.

Dark green leafy vegetables
Popeye was right about eating spinach. Especially if you want to build muscle FAST. The antioxidants found in dark green vegetables help counteract the oxidative muscle damage that comes with heavy training or exercise. So vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, kale, and our hero spinach should be high on your list.

This miniature superfruit is chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants. So if you're involved in strenuous activity, a daily cup or two of blueberries can help reduce cell damage. They also promote healthy blood pressure and contain complex carbs and fiber to help sustain energy and keep you full of vitality!

When you're trying to add muscle, protein is as important as any dumbbell or training buddy. Most important, you want increased "clean calories" from whole, natural, unprocessed foods-like eggs. Eggs are one of the most perfect proteins for growing lean muscle. By incorporating eggs (the whole egg) into your diet you can get a high amount of protein for a relatively low number of calories. Just six egg whites will give you 99 calories and 21 grams of protein. Now that's a deal.

Green tea
If you're working out regularly, giving your body a constant supply of antioxidants can promote quicker recovery on a cellular level. And drinking green tea is a good way to vary your antioxidant intake. On top of its antioxidant properties, green tea can help protect the cardiovascular system, increase metabolic rate (which supports weight control), and may provide some anticancer and blood pressure-reducing benefits.

Add these 7 foods to your oxidant-fighting arsenal. Go ahead and rev up your engine with these heavy-hitters for quicker results. But never neglect your regular exercise program and fitness nutrition plan. Those are the real keys to fitness success. Start with a sound regimen, and then focus on these 7 for extra kick! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness

The American Athletic Institute has conducted studies of alcohol use and athlete/human performance. Get ready. Here are some of the findings:

Training Effect
Every time you get drunk, you lose approximately 2 weeks (14 days) of training effect. That's right, one night of drinking and two weeks of training effect is erased. You are wasting your time and your hard work in the gym. Weekends make you WEAK.

Training Hormones
Alcohol suppresses your training hormones for up to four days. Basically you are at practice but the hormones you need to gain training effect and condition are not. You can train but no real improvement comes.

Performance Potential
The effect of recent drinking (especially heavy drinking) lowers your performance potential by 11.4 percent before you even hit the gym or field of play.

Lactic acid levels, which fatigue your muscles, increases much earlier and primary muscles that you depend on shut down or are slower and weaker.

You will not be able to catch your breath during breaks in activity. Your breathing rate will be very high and you will hyperventilate or lose control of your breathing. Your lungs are trying to get oxygen to your working muscles and clear carbon dioxide from your system but they are compromised.

Your heart rate will be much higher and over time your cardiac output will decrease.
The oxygen rich blood will not reach your working muscles. The lactic acid will build up in the muscles and you will slow down and be weaker.

Muscle Fuels
Normally we can reload our muscles with fuels (glycogen) in 8-12 hours, but after drinking it can be 16-24 hours; that means is can take twice as long.

Normal recovery from maximal stress is 24 hours, but after drinking, it can be 48-96 hours. Do the math.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate. This one is easy to understand. Many people are chronically dehydrated as it is. Alcohol makes the problem worse.

Muscle Repair
When we train muscle is damaged. We repair it by making protein into new fibers. Drinking slows down this repair process. It is in your speed muscles (fast twitch) that this process is most reduced.

Alcohol affects reaction time and hand-eye coordination, which are two of the most important functions in physical activities. Think you can maximize a kettlebell swing with slow reflexes? 

Alcohol is a metabolic poison, clear and simple. It affects the entire body and all body systems, especially those that control high performance. No serious fitness enthusiast or athlete should use alcohol. I recommend that you eliminate it (if you use it) or reduce it to sparingly for best fitness results and effective program progression.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hot Never Stops: Battle Tested Best Practices Athletes Use To Stay On Track...

Franklin Covey reports that the #1 resolution in the U.S. last year (2012) was to become more physically fit. Lofty goal? It was up from #4 in 2002.

Starting is the easy part...Visions of improved health and physical fitness are good catalysts, but weak motivators.

Here are some battle tested (best practices) that athletes use to stay on track. You can benefit from them too:

1. Enjoy Yourself and the Process. In addition to your focused training efforts pick some sports or activities where you can thrive and enjoy. Bring out the old athlete in you. Pleasure produces long term sustainability. Join a rec league. Attempt to do fun, competitive activities year round. Use the training you diligently engage in to support your activities. You will create a pursuit to get better because of your new activity schedule. The rest will take care of itself whether it is weight loss, improved athletic performance or anything else.

2. Create a Fitness Foundation. Lack of time is lack of planning. Plan your workouts like business meetings or birthday parties. Schedule your 2-3 sweat sessions this week and make them recurring events in your smart phone's calendar. Eventually you will expand to a higher frequency of workouts (3-6). Use progression (seek help). Being too ambitious too early can bring your house of cards down quickly. Develop one strong habit (start with scheduling) and then that will become a platform for you to build from in the future. 1 change a week is 52 changes a year. That is a heck of a lot of change!

3. Be a Champion. The point where nothing deviates you from your fitness plan is a "championship moment." You know that internal voice that tells you to get to your scheduled workout versus the one that tells you to go to happy hour? A championship moment is when you take control of the mental conversation that tugs at you. The positive and dominant voice trumps the weak negative voice with ease when it is consciously put into practice (daily).

4. Con Yourself Out. Now and then you just need to outsmart yourself. If you can get to the parking lot (90% of the work) of the gym even when you are tired chances are you will go inside. Cross the finish line. 90% of it is showing up.   

5. See Success Vividly. You don't need Yoga, Tai Chi, Enya music or a dark room to use visualization to your advantage. Success is as much a "thinking through process" as it is a creation of mental imagery. Examine the chain of events that create championship moments! During that process you may never even think of the negative voice that has been holding you back for so long. You are too busy focusing on the positive. You are a champion.

Your mantra this week: hot never stops...

6 Tips for Lean Living in 2013

The "weight loss" industry in America generates somewhere between 40-60 BILLION dollars annually. Read one book and then read another and you might find yourself in a vicious cycle of confusion. A confused mind always says NO.

This crazy cycle leads people to attempt everything under the sun out of shear frustration and produces profits for some while many people participating in the "weight loss" game are left empty handed, heavier than when they started, and are left looking for the next "best" thing.

Here are 6 tips to help you avoid the craziness and live lean:

1. Work a program. The program that works best is the program that YOU WORK AT. Plain and simple. Sounds like rocket science huh? I know. Switching programs because you failed to get immediate results will kill any chance of momentum you capture. Living lean is a lifestyle. Think and plan for long haul.

2. Rethink your fitness plan. Monotony is your enemy. Muscle confusion is your friend. A one dimensional (or one-note) fitness plan is boring and will produce little over the long haul. Look into high-intensity training and metabolic training. As I have said many times before intensity beats extensity.

3. Use your closet as a dream board. Put those clothes that you want to get into in sight (middle of closet) so you remember them and envision fitting back in them. Fat proof your closet!

4. Quit calorie banking and calorie skimping. Your body works in calorie burning ranges that support your current lifestyle. Eat too little and you store fat. Eat too much and you store fat. Starving yourself one week and gorging the next is unhealthy and it can destroy your metabolism over time. Be "Steady Eddy." Get with a professional to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and your activity needs (often referred to as a body analysis).

5. Check your frequency. Cramming a week's worth of missed workouts in over the weekend is just plain stupid. This increases your risk of injury, burnout, and spotty future attendance. Skip the "weekend warrior" idea. Aim to train 5-6 days a week for 30-45 minutes.

6. Splurge once a week. The goal here is to allow yourself a little breathing room (assuming you follow your plan to a tee during the week LOL). Over time your splurge foods will change into healthier options because you will want to eat to support your fit lifestyle. Use common sense and moderation with "splurging."